Travel agents take note – Matt Castell from Flight Centre is back and this week he’s sharing his insider tips on how to get on that amazing famil!
It’s the biggest carrot of the travel industry. Free travel – who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to try luxury hotels, cruise ships and sometimes even the pointy end of some of the worlds most jaw-dropping planes?
Oh, and we get paid to do it as well.
If you’re not in the travel industry stop reading now; or if you want to keep reading then be well prepared to quit your job tomorrow and apply for a new career in travel.
I’ve been quite successful in getting my lucky ass on dozens of these trips – usually called by industry folk as “famils” or “edjos”; short for familiarisations or educational trips – Now I want to share my tips and tricks to help you get your name on more free airline tickets.
1. Get into the right job first
Front selling agents are the most likely candidates to fill these coveted spots. The reason that famils exist is so companies can showcase their products to the people that will flog them to potential customers.
So your best chance to travel the world for free is to sit in your local brick and mortar travel shop. Some agencies have a higher famil spot to employee ratio than others, like Student Flights for example.
2. Sell, sell, and sell!
Just because you show up and sell a couple package holidays to Fiji doesn’t mean you’re going to be whisked away on the next edjo.
I know agents that have been in the game for years and still haven’t been REWARDED with a free trip. Yes, that’s right – it’s a reward, not a right. You need to smash your targets and prove you deserve it first.
3. Cozy up to your reps
Sales Reps from the tour companies and airlines are your best buds. Not only will they help you when things go pear shaped with a booking – but they’re also the ones who wield the power over who gets invited on their next trip. ALWAYS treat them with respect and kindness when they visit your store and show interest in learning more about their products and how you can sell more.
Don’t ever demand things or make threats either, you’ll just look like a tool.
4. Target a certain incentive
There are a lot of sales based trips offered throughout the year – one infamous example is Contiki’s “Rock” – they take a lucky group of top-selling agents on an all expenses paid trip to a famous music festival every year.
The incentive period is all year, so get onto it early and use your entrepreneurial skills to pick up some big groups to boost your chances.
5. Prove that you can pull your weight while you’re away
As a store Manager I’ve turned down plenty of approvals for my staff to go on a famil – sorry guys! The reason was usually because that particular staff member hadn’t proved that they could still hit their sales targets and customer service requirements while away for a couple weeks.
If you’re gunning for a certain trip make sure that your Manager and Area Manager know and understand that you’re capable of fulfilling your duties.
6. Act like a professional when you’re on one
So you’ve taken a picture of your free business-class boarding pass and posted it on Facebook, making your family proud and your friends un-friend you. Holiday time right! Wrong.
You’re on the clock from when you arrive at the airport until you pick up your luggage at the end. Show up on time, dress appropriately (always business attire on planes and hotel inspections), always know your limits when the drinks are free and respect your tour leader. I’ve seen countless people sent home during trips and even lost their jobs once at home. It’s not a personal holiday; you’re allowed to have fun, but try not to act like a Western Australian in Bali.
7. Show you were worth it
When you’re back at work make sure you show your appreciation. Firstly, thank your colleagues for looking after your clients by passing out gifts (chocolate and alcohol preferably) and then send an email to the company Rep to express your thanks and willingness to sell more of their products.
Your name will be remembered and you could even see yourself on the invite list next year.
Do you have any additional tips to add to the list?
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